Most gamers will look at Tearaway Unfolded and dial it down to a PS Vita port, which would be a travesty. Media Molocule (the team behind the LittleBigPlanet series) created a mesmerisingly beautiful game built around the world of papercraft, and it’s been cleverly reshaped, re-energised, and reworked for the PS4, and it’s easily one of the most unique games you’ll play in your lifetime.
What made Tearaway on the PS Vita such a charming and fun game was the physical interaction you had with the game and handheld device itself. Players could push, prod, and swipe the PS Vita’s touch-screen and touch-pads to manipulate things in the world. Transferring the game to the PS4 does lose a little of that ‘in-your-hands’ physical feel, but the abilities and fourth-wall-breaking interactions are re-purposed in clever ways.
The first new PS4 feature is light. The triggers on the DualShock 4 controller produce a powerful beam of light that is projected onto the screen as if you were shining a flashlight from your controller. It uses the lightbar on the controller as the tracking source and you can point it wherever you need on the screen. It can be used to illuminate dark space, make plants grow, and hypnotise enemies to lure them off a cliff or into a hole. The feature does a great job at immersing you and the real-world into the game world in a novel way.
A new gust of wind ability replaces the use of the PS Vita’s touch and push abilities. Instead of swiping a platform down or unrolling a ramp (which is what would’ve happened on the PS Vita’s touch screen), players can swipe the DualShock 4 touchpad in the desired direction you want the wind to blow.
Your little character can also pick up items (and squirrels on occasion) and throw them to ‘you’ through the TV and into your controller, so to speak. You can then aim using the DualShock 4’s lightbar and shoot the item back. This is used to break doors, bash enemies, or solve puzzles.
The touchpad is also used for innovative and interesting papercraft sections, whereby you’ll need to do some drawing, a la nursery-school-style. Your touchpad drawings will then be pasted into the world for their purpose. Drawing a crown for a squirrel king who’s lost his shiny hat, or making wings for a butterfly are really cute and enjoyable ways to see your creations be transcended into the game world.
Tearaway Unfolded shows that significant effort has been put into reproducing the magic and effects of Tearaway on the PS Vita in new ways on the PS4. The DualShock 4 is seen as a playground and not just a device for controlling an avatar – and this approach delivers a unique experience unlike other on the system.
The game is spectacularly gorgeous too, holding its own against any game on the market, while having its own unique paper-inspired artstyle. Tearaway Unfolded is a true sign that creativity and care can go a long way in bringing something new and refreshing to gamers.